This course is an introduction to the construction of knowledge in the social sciences, and in political science particularly. In the first half of the course, students study the tools and methods used in political science. Students explore the connections between normative and empirical claims, uses of evidence, and theory building and testing. They ask how theoretical ideas are generated and how they inform the world around them (both explicitly and implicitly). In the second half of the course, they focus on the concept of power, central to any study of politics, to ask: how do actors use claims, theories, and data to reinforce or subvert dominant power structures? This class provides students the tools and perspective to become more thoughtful interlocutors and more critical consumers of information by helping them better understand the process(es) of knowledge construction. This is a required course for the major.
Prerequisites: PG 101, 102, 103, or 104.